Stress vs. Anxiety: Know The Difference

In our fast-paced world, it’s common to hear people talk about feeling stressed or anxious.

But what’s the difference between stress and anxiety?

Let’s talk about these concepts to better understand them and learn how to manage them effectively.

Basically, stress is a response to external challenges or demands. And for me, I see it as anything outside of my control.

It can be that tension or strain we feel when we’re up against deadlines, unexpected changes, or challenging situations.

While often seen in a negative light, stress actually isn’t always bad.

There’s a good side to stress, or eustress, which can energize and motivate us to tackle challenges head-on.

On the other side, there’s the kind that wears us down – distress.

When this negative stress becomes chronic, it can start to take a toll on our physical and mental health.

Warning signs of being overstressed include fatigue, sleep disturbances, weight changes, and even digestive issues.

If unchecked, chronic stress can lead to serious health concerns like high blood pressure and depression.

Now, anxiety, while often triggered by stress, is more about our internal responses.

It’s that sense of worry or unease about what might happen.

While normal in small doses, prolonged anxiety can evolve into a disorder, affecting our daily lives and causing symptoms like restlessness, sweating, and irritability.

Both stress and anxiety share common physical manifestations, such as an elevated heart rate or difficulty sleeping.

And recognizing these signs is the first step toward managing them.

Imagine you’re about to give a big presentation. The stressor (external) is the presentation itself. The anxiety (internal) is the worry about how it will go or what others will think.

See the difference?

Now that you have a better idea of what stress and anxiety are, let’s talk about how you can manage them effectively.

Strategies for Managing Stress:

➡️ Identify the Triggers: Understanding what causes your stress is crucial. Is it work-related, personal, or something else? Pinpointing these triggers can help you prepare for or avoid them.

➡️ Develop Healthy Coping Mechanisms: This could be exercise, meditation, or engaging in hobbies you love. Find what works for you to relieve stress and be consistent. We love a simple breathing exercise like this one over here.

➡️ Seek Support: Don’t hesitate to talk to friends, family, or a professional if you feel overwhelmed. Sometimes, just talking about what’s stressing you out can be incredibly relieving.

Approaches to Handle Anxiety:

➡️ Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques: Practices like deep breathing, yoga, or meditation can help calm your mind and reduce anxiety.

➡️ Challenge Negative Thoughts: Learn to recognize and challenge your fears and anxieties. Ask yourself how likely they are to happen and what you can do to cope if they do.

➡️ Limit Stimulants: Reducing caffeine and sugar can make a noticeable difference in your anxiety levels.

Remember, it’s okay to experience stress and anxiety – they are normal parts of life. But by recognizing them and having strategies in place to manage them, you can maintain your well-being and keep moving forward.

Interested in deeper insights on managing stress and fostering psychological safety at work? Click here to learn more about our programs and resources! 🖤

Create a great day,

Amanda + Team Mako Mindfulness #MakoMindfulness


Feeling stressed out & psychologically unsafe at work?

Check out our guides!

The Mako Method™ Resource Guide for Stress Management

Download our resource guide and learn over 50 ways you can use quick breathing exercises, affirmations, gratitude, journaling, and perspectives practices throughout the day to manage your stress and create psychological safety at work.


The Mako Method™ for Psychological Safety – The Ultimate Checklist

Download our free checklist to learn our framework of best practices for creating and experiencing more Psychological Safety at Work. 

Which guide do you want?